Fights to start a game are less common, but not unheard of.
The Maple Leafs eventually defeated the Sharks 3-2 in a shootout, with Kadri scoring one of Toronto's two goals in the second period.
Perhaps this was the sort of thing Leafs head coach Mike Babcock was talking about before the game when he said he loved the energy Thornton and fellow beard-enthusiast Brent Burns bring to the game.
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After the two players fell to the ice and were broken up by the linesmen, Kadri could be seen dropping a huge chunk of Thornton's beard on the ice. "We played a really good game and stuck with it".
Patrick Marleu evened the score with his old friends, winning the rematch against his former-team on home ice in a shootout.
In a throwback display of truculence which mirrored a not-so-uncommon way of starting a game 'back in the day, ' Nazem Kadri and Joe Thornton dropped the gloves and went at it in Toronto Thursday night before numerous ACC's patrons even had a chance to take their seats. "I had no idea how I ended up with beard".
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Tierney tied it with 1:42 left in the period. You still have a chance to win, and we're looking for that goal if we get that opportunity. "I was able to just react quick enough to direct that puck towards the net and it happened to go in". It's so important in our game - our game is every night, it's a grind, it's hard.
What if I told you that having a beard has the occasional drawback when playing the game of hockey? "By no means did I expect that". I felt he came across with a slash there, then another one, and I gave one back.
"I had to stay patient", Kadri said.
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Matthews, with his 18th of the season, and Sharks defenceman Brenden Dillon traded goals late in the first period.